Venezuela is in the midst of an unprecedented political, economic, and humanitarian crisis. More than three million Venezuelans have fled the country due to widespread shortages of food, medicine, water, and electricity, severe hunger and malnutrition, rampant violent crime, and ruthless government repression. The ongoing crisis, compounded by the looming threat of military intervention and escalating tensions between the United States and Russia in Venezuela, prevents Venezuelan nationals from safely returning to their country.
House Representative Darren Soto (D-FL) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) have introduced complementary legislation (H.R.549 and S.636) to designate Venezuela under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to permit nationals of Venezuela to be eligible for temporary protected status (TPS). TPS would provide a work permit and stay of deportation for Venezuelans currently residing in the United States for a period of 18 months. The Senate bill has an additional section which would provide support and technical assistance to countries in the region to improve their capacity to provide migration services and asylum to eligible Venezuelan citizens.